We ask the experts what they think will happen to the IoT in 2016
From smart homes to smart cars to connected factories, it seemed that the world around us got a whole lot smarter and more interlinked in 2015. But what does the future hold for the Internet of Things? We asked the experts to find out
More industries will want the IoT
If 2015 was the year that the IoT reached the public consciousness properly for the first time, then next year could well be set to be the year of enterprise IoT.
Away from the slightly gimmicky consumer applications such as smart homes and intelligent vehicles, connected technology has the potential to truly reinvent a wide number of industries, which can benefit from a huge range of advantages provided by IoT technology.
“While the Internet of Things hype reached its peak in the consumer markets this past year, 2016 will be the year of IoT in the enterprise market,” says Jason Shepherd, director of IoT strategy and partnerships at Dell.
“Currently, we are seeing a slump in sales for the once buzzworthy, consumer IoT devices, such as fitness trackers, whereas just the opposite is happening for commercial IoT products.”
“As companies begin understanding the value of IoT (return on investments, efficiency, productivity, etc.), commercial IoT solutions will gain traction and the enterprise will emerge as the largest market for IoT adoption.”
Big data will get bigger, and more profitable
Every day, more and more data is being produced by the increasing number of devices connected to the IoT – now the challenge is to determine what to do with it.
Gartner recently forecasted that there will be 6.4 billion connected ‘things’ used worldwide in 2016, which means there is a huge amount of ‘big data’ being created each day, all of which needs to be analysed and stored.
This explosion is also creating a need for further investment in IoT infrastructure, as more bandwidth and power is needed to cope with all the information.
“As connected devices become more functional and commonplace, the industry is realising that there is a significant gap between the infrastructure required to support IoT devices and the ability to monetise IoT data, says Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and VP marketing at MATRIXX.
“To make the economics work, industry players will either need to punt on profitability, or find more cost effective solutions to monetise the data generated by the IoT. CSPs and IoT players will look for the next wave on innovation and scalability to handle the data deluge, and better analytics to drive business models that will stand up to a business case.”
Monetising the huge amounts of data being produced will also become big business, as companies look to make as much use of what they have as possible.
“Monetising the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions will become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs,” says Mark Barrenechea, chief executive officer at OpenText.
“Owning the data, analysing it, and improving and innovating will become key to corporate success—all empowered by a connected digital society.”
Security becomes paramount
But all of these things, and all of the data they produce, will need to be secured, and safely stored, in order to ensure both businesses and customers stay protected.
“As the amount of connected devices rises, so too will the potential for security threats and breaches,” says Shepherd.
“To ensure that organisations receive the strongest security practices possible, we will see the emergence of security models based on use cases and new technologies to address the key challenges at the edge. Unlike the trend with consumer IoT, which stresses quick time-to-market over security measures, organisations providing commercial IoT solutions will need to find a balance that offers solutions that are both easy to adopt without sacrificing security.”
The new connected IoT world will also need to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make educated decisions about the products they purchase, including the level of security offered by new products and solutions.
“In the future IoT products will be sold much like bike locks are today, clearly marked with different levels of security,” says Asit Goel, SVP at NXP.
“This way consumers can make clear decisions about how much security they need and how much they will be willing to pay for it.”
Wearables could be the key
Along with allowing machines to talk to each other in a smarter and more intuitive way than ever before, the IoT will also mean that humans and machines can interact more meaningfully.
Wearable technology offers the most direct way for us to interact with the IoT, with products ranging from fitness trackers to blood monitors and heart rate detectors providing a wealth of useful information that can then be uploaded and analysed.
In industry, too, wearables can play a big part, allowing workers to quickly visualise and analyse situations without the need to be in danger or at risk. Heads Up Displays (HUD), smart gloves, and wearable cameras all have the possibility to revolutionise working in a wide range of industries.
“When the intelligence generated by IoT systems and networks is integrated with wearables that support augmented reality, that same technology has the potential to create a workforce of ‘smart humans’. It will enable them to solve problems, simplify jobs and use real-time information on the go,” says Valerie Riffaud-Cangelosi, new markets development manager at Epson.
It will finally start moving towards an “Internet of Everything”
Although it sounds slightly Orwellian, the IoT could soon be directly affecting every point of our lives. From health to work to travel to entertainment, the possibilities truly are endless, and who’s to say that companies won’t be trying to access all of them?
“The IoT is really about the Zen of Things—our application of software and technology to help customers consume products and businesses build and deliver them,” says Barrenechea.
“In 2016 IoT will continue to combine big data, analytics, the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation to propel industries forward and create the next industrial revolution.”
This sees a fitting metaphor for the IoT, which has such huge potential across a wide range of sectors, and now the challenge is to see how it develops.
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